People have used activated charcoal, a fine, black-colored powder derived from carbon, for centuries to treat a wide range of health ailments. But it’s not clear if it helps treat psoriasis. Here’s what we know so far.
Charcoal shampoo contains activated charcoal.
Today, activated charcoal is a common ingredient in many skin and hair care products, including a few psoriasis shampoos.
Currently, there isn’t any scientific evidence that charcoal-infused shampoo can help with scalp psoriasis. This article explores how to use charcoal shampoo, as well as other scalp psoriasis treatments.
At the moment, there is no clinical research evaluating charcoal shampoo as a treatment for scalp psoriasis. It’s not possible to conclude that charcoal shampoo is an effective treatment.
With that said, activated charcoal has many properties that could make it helpful for psoriasis.
For example, activated charcoal carries a strong negative charge that allows it to bind with positively charged molecules. It might, therefore, attract and clear away dead skin cells on the surface of the scalp, a common symptom of psoriasis.
In addition, a 2021 research review suggested that activated charcoal has antifungal and antibacterial properties that may be useful in the treatment of scalp psoriasis.
In other words, although shampoos that contain activated charcoal show promise, experts need to perform more research to determine whether they are effective compared with other available treatments.
Carbon makes up activated charcoal and coal tar. People produce activated charcoal by heating naturally carbon-rich substances, such as bamboo or wood, until they turn into black dust. Coal tar, on the other hand, derives from coal.
Products that contain 0.5% to 5% coal tar have been labelled as safe and effective by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of psoriasis.
But according to a 2021 review, there is still relatively little research exploring its effectiveness for scalp psoriasis. The authors suggest that coal tar shampoos may not be a popular treatment because they are messy and can leave dark stains on the scalp and hair.
Charcoal shampoos have similar properties to coal tar shampoos. Most contain a low concentration of charcoal, so they might not be as likely to stain. They can, however, stain your bath and shower area.
They might be helpful in treating scalp psoriasis, but experts need to perform more studies.
If you decide to wash your hair with charcoal shampoo, follow the instructions on the product label. Most manufacturers recommend massaging the shampoo into the scalp and waiting around 5 minutes before thoroughly rinsing your scalp and hair.
It’s a good idea to start by applying the shampoo to a small area of your scalp and then rinsing it thoroughly to make sure it doesn’t leave a stain.
When it comes to charcoal-infused products, there are a lot of unknowns. Though people generally think that activated charcoal is safe, the FDA does not regulate it. It’s not clear how often you can use it or if it has any short- or long-term side effects.
It’s a good idea to speak with a dermatologist before using charcoal shampoo for scalp psoriasis. They might be able to provide additional safety guidelines.
In addition, stop using charcoal shampoo right away if you experience negative side effects, for instance, a tingling or burning sensation on your scalp. Although charcoal itself is not likely to cause an allergic reaction like a rash, other ingredients in the shampoo could.
There are many shampoos for scalp psoriasis available. Most contain one or more of the following active ingredients:
Although scalp psoriasis usually isn’t serious, it can interfere with your day-to-day life.
If you have symptoms like a dry, discolored, and itchy scalp, ask a doctor for a referral to a dermatologist. Dermatologists are skin specialists who diagnose and treat scalp psoriasis.
Charcoal shampoo has been touted as a treatment for scalp psoriasis. While there is little to no scientific evidence evaluating its effectiveness, some people say it helps.
Its effects may be similar to those of coal tar shampoo, an established treatment for scalp psoriasis. However, there isn’t enough research to draw any conclusions.
If you’re interested in trying charcoal shampoo, ask a primary care doctor or dermatologist for more information.